Thursday, March 19, 2015

One state? Two states? What's the real issue?

Sar Shalom

Among pundits, the mark of Seriousness is to push for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Arabs of the disputed territories. According to this Serious position, one-state means either that the Palestinians remain a subjugated people, if that state is Jewish, or that Jewish sovereignty comes to an end, if that state is Arab. The problem with this line of thought is that it confuses objectives with means.

The acknowledged objective of the two-state advocates is that all residents of the southwestern Levant should have a bona fide say in the governance of the state that rules them and that Israel's future as a Jewish state must not be endangered. Israeli annexation of the disputed territories and extending the vote to the Arab residents there would secure the first objective. However, between the Arabs and the post-Zionist Jews, Israel would then cease to have a Zionist majority, which would jeopardize Israel's continuation as a Jewish state. Thus, giving the Arabs of the disputed territories a voice in the governance of their state without threatening Israel's Jewish character requires putting their homes under the jurisdiction of one or more different states, or creating one or more new states to assume that sovereignty.

If this was all that the two-state advocates want, there would be no problem. However, these advocates invariably add two provisions to this. One is that one new state should encompass all the Arabs of the disputed territories. The second is that the territory to be ceded to this new state should not be based on what is needed to function as a state or to provide services for its citizens, but that is should be based on what Jordan conquered in 1949.

In calling for Israel to withdraw from the disputed territories, the usual foundation is United Nation Security Council Resolution 242. However, relying on 242 to call for complete, or cosmetically different from complete, withdraw has a few problems. One is that the language in the resolution is ambiguous and that language that would have clearly meant complete withdraw was considered and rejected. Another problem is that basing the final borders on the previous demarcation lines runs afoul of two provisions in 242. The second introductory clause of 242 states:
Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war...
and action clause 1(ii) calls for:
Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and ... [the] right [of every State] to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries
While the most recent change in control over the disputed territories was the result of an Israeli "acquisition" by war, the prior demarcation lines were also the result of an earlier acquisition by war. Anyone saying that the territory's having been possessed by Jordan prior to the 1967 war confers a right to any party is effectively conferring their blessing on Jordan's conquest in 1949. Either you believe that acquiring territory through war is inadmissible or you do not, there is no saying that acquisitions by some parties is admissible and is not for other parties.

Furthermore, Abbas has given no indication that he is ready to terminate all claims. In effect, unilaterally imposing would be allowing him to benefit from 242 without accepting its obligations.

What we should do is thus: shift the discussion from the means to the ends. Instead of talking about what states should ultimately exist and in possession of what territory, talk about the need for everyone to have a say in how they are governed, provided that some party could assume power among the Arabs of the disputed territories that has conditions short of Israel committing national suicide to end all claims against Israel, but that no past war should prejudice the division of land among its inhabitants.


  1. Any peace plan is not going to be received well as none of the parties could ever hope to be in agreement as they are all fundamentally at odds with each other.

    What I would propose is:

    1) Jerusalem. Fully under Israeli control. UN peacekeeping mission deployed to ensure that people of all faiths treated equally. (Non-military type, more of a place to address grievances). Would be policed entirely by Israel

    2) West bank. consolidate a portion of this off for the non-Israeli population. THEN attach it to Jordan (who also has claimed much so called "palestinian" land. Jordon has proven to be a workable partner in keeping violence down. Of course the US would most likely have to agree to an aid package similar to what Egypt got after Carter sold the whole Sinai down the river.

    3) Gaza Strip. I would say give it to Egypt, but frankly Egypt wants no part of them. I would make them a semi-autonomous state. They would have everything, EXCEPT a military. Kind of like the provisions the US and allies placed on Japan after WWII. Part of this deal would include economic co-operation with Israel, and also include penalties from terror attacks originating from Gaza.

    With this plan, Israel would no longer be "subjugating the poor palestinians" thereby riding itself of a huge PR "pallywood" propaganda problem.

    Jordan has proven they can take care of "palestinian" terror issues quite well.

    Gaza, demilitarize them, and help them along economically (both US and Israel) to the point where they see there life is better without Hamas and other extremists running the show.

    This plan leaves Israel:

    1) Contiguous, with no paths left carved out for terror attacks of opportunity
    2) Cleared of the "palestinians" and their so called brutal treatment, where they can do things like vote, have people in the government, their women can drive and have the same rights as men.
    3) Prove that after this is done, the treatment Israel receives from the world isn't because of the "palestinians", but because of a much older, more insidious reason.

    1. Before discussing peace plans, it is necessary to establish the rules by which they would evaluated. This is especially important for us given what constitutes Seriousness in international discussion today. According to the Very Serious People (VSP)-consensus, Jordan's conquests in 1949 confer a right on the Palestinians that extends to perpetuity that at best for us would allow us to exchange land that Jordan failed to conquer for parts of Jordan's conquest we desire. The VSPs will not come out and say this. When they express dismay at some Israeli pronouncement, they do not say "horror of horrors, the Palestinians will have less land than Jordan conquered west of the River in 1949," they say "horror of horrors, the Palestinians will be permanently without hope for self-determination."

      What we need to do is change the terms of discussion so that any plan that leads to genuine Palestinian self-determination would be accepted and deny the VSPs a nexus between Palestinian self-determination and Palestinian land-rights based on Jordanian conquests. Establishing a goal of Palestinian self-determination without mention of extent of land included combined with an emphasis on the legal basis for giving them less than Jordan's 1949-conquest would work towards that end.

      One objection I would raise with your plan is that it would give the Palestinians the ability to import materiel from Jordan. That is one thing that must not be allowed under any circumstances.

    2. I have a better plan. Abolish UNRWA - no more welfare for multi generational parasites in Gaza. Cut all external funding to the PA, it produces nothing and has no economy to sustain it, another international welfare case (most of it's 'economy' is financed by EU and other assorted antisemites). Take away the money and watch peace happen.

    3. Sar Shalom

      In the past Jordan has quite effectively dealt with the "palestinians". As such I don't think they would let them import weapons into the new Israel. Jordan would rather not get involved in something like that and I believe they would deal with the "palestinians" far more harsh than Israel!

  2. "Take away the money and watch peace happen."

    You nailed it.

    1. Per capita, they are clearly usurpers of aid more deserved elsewhere.

      Recall this video:

      Stuff like this should be more in the public domain.

      A Palestinian wall of shame.

  3. How Israel draw and declare borders, provide it to the UN with an effective date when it will withdraw, with a UN trusteeship in its place, pursuant to Chapter VII and Chapter XII of the UN Charter. It would be non-militarized and formed to allow the Palestinians to develop, until they can govern themselves. It would have a full right of return.

    Article 77 says:

    The trusteeship system shall apply to such territories in the following categories as may be placed thereunder by means of trusteeship agreements:

    c. territories voluntarily placed under the system by states responsible for their administration.

    Since Israel is presently responsible for administration, it seems within its right to do this.

    The PA asked last year for a UN protectorate, basically admitting they are not prepared to be a sovereign state.

    I envision it would be something like the OSCE has established in Bosnia.

  4. Confusing objectives with means, eh?

    This is actually one of the smartest, most concise, dispositions on the question that I have read in some time.

    This is one of those pieces that I want to think about and think about, again, before responding... and then end up not responding!

    We are heading into the weekend and Laurie and I have an appointment with our friend Alton Brown. in San Francisco tonight.

    I only have a short time to ponder these immeasurable imponderables until I must plunge forth elsewhere.

    Good piece, Sar Shalom.

    I promise to revisit.